LONGEST, MOST DANGEROUS RUN THIS YEAR LEFT THREE IN HOSPITAL

THREE people were seriously gored and several others trampled by bulls yesterday on the fourth day of Pamplona's world-famous running of the bulls festival in northern Spain. In what was the longest and most dangerous run so far this year, three men were gored -- one in the face -and were taken to hospital, a health official said. None of the injuries were thought to be life-threatening. Two confused animals became separated from the rest of the pack and careered slowly up the street, one catching an unlucky runner and goring him twice during a hair-raising episode which left his trousers in tatters. Another young man was carried up the street for more than 10 metres dangling from a bull's horn by his shirt, although he did not appear to be seriously injured. State radio said that all of those gored were Spaniards. A total of five people had been taken to hospital, officials said. The so-called San Fermin festival, in which hundreds of men test their nerves by running alongside half-tonne bulls, is held every year from July 7-14. The most serious injury occurred on Sunday when a 28-year-old man from Pamplona suffered a fractured skull and internal bleeding. The last death was in 1995, when a 22-year-old American was gored. At least 13 people have died from injuries in the bull run over the past 100 years. The San Fermin festival, made famous by Ernest Hemingway's novel “The Sun Also Rises”, draws hundreds of thousands of tourists each year, many coming from all over the world, for the run and subsequent bullfights each of the eight days. The multitudes celebrate wildly with generous amounts of alcohol, despite protests from animal rights activists and the Catholic Church, which complains that the religious nature of the festival has been all but lost. San Fermin, adopted as Pamplona's patron saint, was a veteran of the Crusades.

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